Fekitoa to play for Tonga in Olympics qualifier
Radio New Zealand
June 11, 2021 7:27 pm
Wasps centre Malakai Fekitoa last played for the All Blacks in 2017. [Source:RNZ]
Former All Blacks center Malakai Fekitoa is switching his international rugby allegiance to Tonga.
The 29-year-old is one of four former New Zealand and Australian internationals who will represent Tonga at next weekend’s final Olympic Sevens qualifying tournament in Monaco.
The others are former Wallabies forward Lopeti Timani, Australian sevens international Afusipa Taumoepeau, and Tasman winger Tima Fainga’anuku, who is a former New Zealand sevens representative.
Fekitoa will link up with the Tonga sevens squad in Monaco after playing for Wasps’ final English Premiership match against Leicester Tigers this weekend.
He made his test debut in 2014 and played the last of his 24 tests for New Zealand against the British and Irish Lions four years ago.
Fekitoa represented Tonga in sevens before moving to New Zealand as a 17-year-old, after earning a scholarship to Wesley College.
Players can switch their international allegiance by playing in an Olympic qualifying event, provided they have a passport for the second country and have completed a stand-down period of three years.
By playing in 50 percent of Tonga’s matches at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Monaco, Fekitoa will become eligible to play for the ‘Ikale Tahi national team.